May 15, 2008 12:00 AM

Syesha’s Swan Song When the news broke that the two David’s had made it to the finals, Jeff Archuleta and his wife Lupe quickly turned to David Cook‘s mother and father, both sitting right behind them, and the families congratulated each other profusely. Meanwhile, David Archuleta‘s face was pale with shock as he and Cook made their way over to the couch to watch Syesha Mercado give her final performance of Alicia Keys‘ “If I Ain’t Got You.” In the audience, Carly Smithson and Brooke White held each other as they swayed to the song, while Chikezie and David Hernandez stood and pointed to their fellow Idol. As the credits rolled on TV, all the former Idols in the house joined Ryan Seacrest and the judges on stage to bid farewell to Syesha and congratulate the two David’s on making it all the way. They posed for photos together and David Cook and Michael Johns ran toward each other, jumped and did a chest high five!

Facing the Music David A. was the first Idol to watch his emotional hometown visit play on the monitor. Debbie the stage manager came over and comforted the young Idol, who got so embarrassed that he waved to the girls in the pit to start them screaming to break the tension. As his mom’s eyes welled up at the touching moments, his father Jeff put his arm around her as they watched proudly.

A Father’s Pride Syesha came out next, casual in jeans, a white tank and white sneakers for her big moment, as she too became emotional as she watched her visit to Sarasota, Fla., on the screen. As she stood there in the dark, watching herself at a town reunion, she laughed as her mayor did a handstand and wiped the tears away from her eyes as her father proclaimed how his daughter had helped him so much in his fight against addiction. Her back to the audience, feverishly drying her eyes before turning to the cameras, Syesha regained her composure before taking a seat next to David A. on the couch.

Brotherly Love Ryan called Cook’s brother Andrew up onto the stage, the person who was partially responsible for the frontrunner’s journey to Idol, to stand next to him and watch his brother’s Kansas City, Mo., visit play up on the monitor. David held his hand up to his mouth in total shock as he relived the moments and the magnitude of crowds that came out to support him. Andrew continuously patted his brother’s back as David tried unsuccessfully to hold back his tears. And David returned the love to his brother, ruffling his hair when he shed some tears of his own. After it was all over Debbie took his hand and personally escorted Andrew back to his chair.

Idol Reunion First came Ramiele Malubay, then David Hernandez, Kristy Lee Cook, Luke Menard and Chikezie. But as the Idols were filing in, the crowd suddenly broke into hysterics, as Michael Johns made his first appearance since his shocking departure earlier in the season. Then rocker Amanda Overmyer arrived, followed shortly by Brooke White, who took her seat and was later joined by Carly Smithson. But as things were just about to get started, in wandered the most recent to leave, Jason Castro, and the fans went wild with screams again.

Fantasia Leaves ‘Em Breathless Rather than pre-tape it, season three’s Fantasia, rocking bright red hair, took the Idol audience by storm as she performed her single “Bore Me (Yawn).” As Fantasia rocked out with her dancers, moving the judges as well as the crowd, David Archuleta seemed the most into it of the three Idols on the couch, as he clapped along and grooved to the beat. After her performance Fantasia fake made-out with Ryan to the delight of the crowd, then waved goodbye to the crowd before producer Nigel Lythgoe walked up on stage and her a big hug and escorted her away.

More Stuff You Didn’t See • After the show, Ryan flipped the Idol coin in the air, with David Archuleta’s face on one side and David Cook’s on the other, deciding which Idol would sing first in the final performance show next week. David A. won the coin toss and, just like on the Price Is Right, agreed with the audience and opted to go second, giving Cook the opportunity to fire the first shot next Tuesday.

• David Archuleta and Syesha didn’t realize that as they were both giving high fives to the fans in the pit at the end of the show. They slowly moved closer and closer toward each other until they eventually collided.

• During the last break, when all three Idols were waiting to find out their fates, David Cook paced on the stage, rubbing his hands together nervously. David Archuleta continuously waved and smiled to his female fans in the pit, while Syesha stood as a makeup artist freshened up her lip gloss. –Jed Dreben


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